I want to replace my ten year old Volkswagen Golf GTi with a new car, but I really can't decide which way to go. I really like the performance factor, and was thinking a Subaru BRZ would be even more fun. But then the BRZ is not very practical for my mates and carrying stuff.
I've also recently got into mountain biking with my girlfriend, so another part of me thinks I should go for something more versatile like a Subaru Forester. But do I really need to? She has a Honda CR-V, so maybe I can be a bit more selfish. I've got a maximum $40K budget, so a new Golf GTi is out of the question.
Damion, Wahroonga, NSW
I feel your pain, buddy. I, too, like to carry large, expensive bikes around in my car, but I also like the occasional fang through the mountain roads. What to do?
Your budget is an interesting one, because it precludes a couple of thoughts I had off the top of my head, like a Skoda Kodaiq or a Volkswagen Golf R wagon, should you decide you want to lug mountain bikes around. The Forester has gone away from turbocharging, too, so having the best of both worlds there is no longer possible.
My first recommendation sneaks in under your cut-off, and offers a little from column A and a little from column B. The Renault Megane GT wagon has a sharp chassis, a turbocharged 1.6-litre engine and a decently sized boot that would carry two bikes with the front wheels removed.
For the second recommendation, let’s assume you’re going to sponge off the good graces of your partner for bike-carrying duties – a Honda CR-V is a great load lugger, and you may as well restrict the inevitable dirt and damage to one car.
You can grab a top-spec Subaru BRZ tS for a few bucks over $40K, or the BRZ Premium – which misses out on the better dampers, brakes and tyres of the tS – for around $35,000. That leaves enough dough for these awesome SeaSucker removable racks should you want to pedal two kinds of fun toy.
Ultimately, though, there is a way that you can have the best of both worlds. Call in a couple of old loans from your mates to find an extra $1500 to add to your $40,000 top end, and you can own the quintessentially perfect mountain biker’s ride – the Skoda Octavia RS wagon.
Not only has it got a huge boot, it shares the same engine as your beloved Golf GTI… and being a regular-sized wagon, it’s no drama to lift mountain bikes onto the roof. It’s also incredibly well equipped, well screwed together and even decently economical to boot. This mountain biker would have one in his driveway tomorrow, no questions asked./Tim Robson
Our recommendation: Skoda Octavia RS wagon, $41,490